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Food Festivals and Cheap Vacations

Updated on September 3, 2012

Riddle me this . . . where can you get sample foods galore and swing, jive or just meditate to some great sounds, and help others in need without emptying your pockets. Why at a food festival, of course.

Check out this list of tasting events held in great cities for little or free attendance. Don't miss out on your chance to mingle, party and partake of some delicious, decadent and downright sinful food in 2011!

Days of Food Tastings

Taste of Chocolate

Bloomington, Minnesota

Got a hankering for chocolate? Let's meet in Bloomington for this Dessert Competition and benefit for the Bloomington Fine Arts Council. This event is held in the Arts Center which incorporates seven community arts organizations.Light, dark, white, sweet and semi what a delicious way to celebrate the Arts with chocolate dishes galore. 925-563-8567.

Taste of Washington

Seattle, Washington

If you haven't been to Seattle, don't miss your opportunity to join the sleepless (sleepless, because of the many great sites, of course). Over 200 winemakers will be in attendance for this event which also features delicious foods from area restaurants. The event, held at the Qwest Field Event Center, includes seminars and a VIP Tasting and Grand Tasting event.

Taste of Cincinnati

Cincinnati, Ohio

This event, initiated in 1979, is sponsored by the Downtown Council and Greater Cincinnati Restaurant Association. Over 500,000 folks attend this event with participation from over 40 restaurants. This festival has live music and Best of Taste ceremony.Riverboat cruises and tours will be available.

Taste of Charlotte

Charlotte, North Carolina

Uptown Charlotte celebrates good food and entertainment. This family friendly event has live music, street performers and magic acts.

Taste of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

We're talking people, food, music and more people, food and music at this huge summer festival held in the diverse city of Chicago, If you don't like tons of people, lots of food, and top notch entertainment, you'd better skip this one.

Taste of Madison

Madison, Wisconsin

Labor Day weekend (tba)

Free admission, live entertainment and close to 200,000 folks converge in Madison for this day of plenty of cheap eats ($1-$4 in 2010). More than 75 restaurants and 20 beverage stands participate.

Taste of Colorado

Denver, Colorado

Labor Day weekend

The Mile High city celebrates the close of summer with a bang at this grand party with more events than you can fit in. There's Feed Your Mind, where old and young minds are expanded with historical and environmental facts. Artisans will demonstrate their wares with weaving, spinning and rug braiding. There will be Fine Dining Culinary demonstrations along with food and music.

Taste of DC (to benefit the USO)

Washington, DC

Well, the Nation's Capital is not about to be left out of all this partying. One of the largest with over a million in attendance and one of most festive with over scores of musical acts and entertainment. And, then there's The White House, Smithsonian, Monuments, Library . . . . Plan on staying for awhile.

Taste of Atlanta

Atlanta, Georgia

This will be the 11th anniversary of this Fest which benefits several charities including Atlanta's Table and Operation Frontline (see info below). Close to 50,000 enjoyed festival events including the Food Studio and Food Zone with cooking demonstrations and the VIP experience. Over 70 restaurants provide great food bites.

While in Atlanta, visit the Etowah Indian Mounds (archaeological site inhabited by Native Americans from 1,000 AD) and the Ocmulgee National Monument and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Site.

Share our Strength's Operation Frontline

Share Our Strength ® works to ensure no kid in America grows up hungry through a network of community groups, activists and food programs to provide children with nutritious food where they live, learn and play.

Operation Frontline

Operation Frontline is a cooking-based Share our Strength program that works to teach needy families how to prepare healthy, tasty meals on a limited budget.


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